When you visit a Des Cedres Dental Clinic you might find that you speak to or are visited by several health practitioners between the moment you enter and the moment you leave.  Of course, there is going to be a receptionist who greets you and makes sure that your file and paperwork is in order. This receptionist may have other duties but they tend to mostly handle the administrative responsibilities of the office.

However, once you get back into the examination room you will probably see—or, in some cases, perhaps, hear—two or three other people who will play a role in your dental cleaning or procedure.  Aside from the dentist—or dental surgeon—the two other most likely professionals who may be present will be either a dental hygienist or a dental assistant.

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DENTAL ASSISTANT

A dental assistant prepares and breaks down the dental office.  They will lay out the tools for the dentist, disinfecting them as needed, of course.  They might also obtain the patient’s dental records and, perhaps, medical history. During a dental procedure, the dental assistant is typically present to provide an extra set of hands for the dentist, handing them instruments as they request and, perhaps, instructing patients on further care a patient could take after the dentist leaves and as the patient is preparing to go home.

In addition, a dental assistant may also prepare various other equipment and materials used by the dentist. These machines/equipment could include, then, x-ray machines, dental impression materials, anesthetics, and cement. In some cases, dental assistants can also perform some of the administrative work (like billing patients and accepting payments); they might also order dental supply refills.  The extent of what a dental assistant does can vary depending on the size of the office and the number of other personnel.

DENTAL HYGIENIST

When you sit in a dentist’s chair, the first person you are likely to see is the dental hygienist.  This is professional handles some of the more intricate and more advanced tasks than what a dental assistant is trained to handle.  Hygienist duties can include polishing teeth, removing some of the hard and soft deposits from teeth, removing tartar or plaque, or developing dental x-rays.  The other responsibilities of a dental hygienist can vary by state to state based on statutory laws and education requirements therein.